US airlines give China flight plans for new defense zone

US airlines give China flight plans for new defense zone

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON - US airlines United, American and Delta, have notified Chinese authorities of flight plans when traveling through an air defense zone Beijing has declared over the East China Sea, following US government advice.

The United States said on Friday it expected US carriers to operate in line with so-called notices to airmen issued by foreign countries, although it added that the decision did "not indicate US government acceptance of China's requirements."

A spokesman for Delta Airlines said it had been complying with the Chinese requests for flight plans for the past week.

American and United said separately that they were complying, but did not say for how long they had done so.

Airline industry officials said the US government generally expects US carriers operating internationally to comply with notices issued by foreign countries.

In contrast, two major airlines in Japan, the United States'close ally, have agreed with the Japanese government that they would fly through the zone without notifying China.

China published coordinates for the zone last weekend. The area, about two-thirds the size of the United Kingdom, covers most of the East China Sea and the skies over a group of uninhabited islands at the center of a bitter dispute between Beijing and Tokyo.

Beijing wants all foreign aircraft passing through the zone, including passenger planes, to identify themselves to Chinese authorities.

China's declaration of the zone represents a historic challenge by the emerging new world power to the United States, which has dominated the region for decades.

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